Black Pika Sighted in Arunachal Pradesh at 13,000 feet

A WWF-India team working in West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh have discovered Black Pikas which, until then, had been thought to be endemic to the Yunan province in China. The Pika is a mammal with short limbs, rounded ears and short tail and is covered in black fur. The animals were spotted at around 13,000 feet while the team was during surveys of the area along with villagers. The team took photographs and after returning, consulted experts to identify the species based on external features. A genetic cross examination is required to classify the species accurately. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list of threatened species lists the Black Pika as “data deficient”. The Pika belongs to the family of rabbits and hares and is likely to be an important prey for high altitude raptors. Arunachal Pradesh with its eastern Himalayan ranges and its wide range of endangered flora and fauna is one of the 200 most important ecological regions in the world. The WWF team believes that this discovery is only the beginning and more are to come.

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